Compassion is a winner
This story is based on several real events rolled into one. All names are changed to protect the individual's identities. This is one of the few in this blog that does not contain images. The bullying victim shows enormous compassion to a bully. This creates a stream of compassion that reaches many people.
My name is Shanice. I’m 14 years old. I have crippling arthritis in my legs so I have to use a wheelchair. I have been like it for seven years now.
I have dark brown unruly hair and I wear ugly sort-of square free NHS glasses. I have a mum, a dad and a little brother, Loreece. He always teases me about my glasses. We moved house a few months ago when my dad got a new job. I started a new school - I hate it. I don’t have any friends there and all the girls tease me. So I have no friends when I am at home either. I hate my life.
I decided to keep a diary of my life and I am going to share that with you now.
Today when I went to school Ayoola and Samantha came up to me and started teasing me, as usual. These two girls are very popular and have lots of 'followers'. Ayoola is very beautiful, her mum and dad are Nigerian and very rich. She has everything she wants. Samantha is quite rich too, has thick blond hair and loads of boys fancy her.
“Square eyes, square eyes", Mocked Sam who then snatched my lunch box. "Hey, look Ayo, poor girl Shanice has had her peanut butter sandwiches cut into little squares . What a baby. Can't your mum and dad give you proper food”
Sam threw it up on the roof where I couldn’t get it. I went off to my secret hiding spot near the caretakers office and cried. This sort of thing happens every day. I’m always picked on. I daren't tell the teachers as they wouldn't believe me about Ayo and Sam as they are so perfect in lessons. I wish I could go somewhere and lock myself away from the world. Nobody could hurt me there.
When I got home my mum saw my tears and immediate knew that I had been bullied. “Oh, Shanice. What has happened?” I told her about Ayo and Sam. mum knew these girls were a problem some time ago but I told her they had stopped
“Something has to be done about those two girls. I’m going to call your Head of Year,” she said.
I begged her not to make the call and said “It will make things worse, they’ll pick on me even more. Please don’t call her.”
Mum was not at all sure but said “Okay . . . but, you have to promise me that you will stand up to both of them tomorrow if they start on you again?” I nodded but I know I didn't mean it.
Mum gave me money to buy my lunch. I had no sandwiches or box for them to throw on the roof. I rode my wheelchair through the gate and Sam, Ayo and Jolene walked toward me. I stopped. “Look who it is - little poor girl Shanice, what rubbish food have you got today?” said Samantha. The other two giggled loudly.
“Leave me alone,” I said. My body and voice were shaking.
“Ayo, check her school bag,” Samantha said. She grabbed my bag and unzipped it to look inside. I tried to grab it back but she was too quick. I snatched at it again and got hold of it. Ayo yanked it hard and my wheelchair fell over spilling me on the school playground with a crash. Sam, Ayo and Jolene ran off. But Ayo had stolen my purse with my lunch money in it. I started to cry not only because of the bullying but also due to the pain in my legs due to the fall.
A teacher on duty walked round the corner and rushed to help me. “Shanice. What’s happened?” I told her that I fell out of my wheelchair and was okay.
She said “You’re bleeding and not okay. A simple fall would not make you bleed like this". I still kept quiet. She took me to the first aider to get me cleaned up.”
I didn’t tell her what had really happened as I would get bullied twice as much.
Ayoola came in class half way through the day. Everyone turned around and stared. I thought my eyes were lying to me. Or that Ayo was playing a very cruel joke on me. She sitting in a wheelchair but she had her leg in a cast. She was having a difficult time driving it along and kept hitting chairs, desks and other pupils.
“I fell off my horse last night and broke my leg.” Ayo had two horses she rode most days.
Mr. Spooner told everyone to be careful of Ashleigh’s leg.
After lunch I saw Ayo at the bottom of the stairs to the science labs. Rather stupidly she was trying to get up them in her wheel chair. I went over to her.
“Are you trying to get up the stairs in a wheelchair?” I asked.
“Yeah, I have to get to my science class, and all my friends have gone off and left me.” Ayo replied.
"Very compassionate" I sarcastically thought. “Did you ever wonder how I got to the second floor in my wheelchair, Ayo?"
She meekly replied "No, I never thought about it at all - maybe I didn't care? "Sorry"
"Do you want me to show you how I do it every day on my own as nobody ever helps me either?
“That would be fantastic,” she quitetly said.
So I took her round the corner to door. It had a sign on saying Staff Only. I told her to open it and she saw a lift for the science staff to take trolleys of equipment up and down between the floors. We rode up in it together.
Ayo looked at me and in a voice that I have never heard her use before she said “Thank you.”
A little while after I got home there was a knock at the front door. You would never believe it. It was Ayo and her mum and she wanted me to have a sleepover at her house that night.
“I’d love to come.” I couldn’t believe it. Ayo was being nice to me!
That night Ayoola told me she had never experienced such kindness and forgiveness before. (I doubt that she ever knew what compassion meant). She was used to doing what she wanted when she want too. She had spent one day in a wheelchair and could not believe what it must be like for me to be one forever. Ayo tried to imagine what it would be like to never ride her horses again. It made her cry.
"Do you feel sorry for yourself?" I asked. Ayo thought for some time. Then replied "Yes but I know I will be able to ride again. I am beginning to understand how horrid your life must be". She was beginning to get the emotion of compassion.
She ditched her former 'friends' and never bullied me again. She also made sure nobody else bullied me too. we made new friends. Our families became friends too. Ayo's father was able to give my dad a very good job and that helped us to buy our own home. Ayo and I did a lot together, we still do. She supports me in so many ways.
Friday (10 years later)
I was and still am very happy. I still wear square shaped glasses and totally love peanut butter sandwiches. You see I am no longer that 14 year old girl in a wheelchair I am 24 and a Paralympics athlete in a wheelchair. Ayo works within a large Anti-bullying Charity.
One act of compassion set off a chain of events that has altered so many lives in such a positive way.
Show compassion at least once every day it change lives.